Turkish Cypriot minor party Milletin Partisi leader Bertan Zaroglu on Friday rejected a proposal from ruling coalition party YDP leader Erhan Arikli that the two parties merge.

Arikli had made the proposal on Thursday, but the suggestion was swiftly batted away by Zaroglu, who said it is “not possible” for him to accept such a suggestion.

However, he did leave the door open to future cooperation, saying that after the forthcoming YDP leadership election, “if the elected leader makes a proposal, we could come together as two separate parties and evaluate possible cooperation opportunities.”

These opportunities, he said, would “depend on the conditions of the day.”

Arikli, who currently serves as the north’s ‘transport minister’, had on Thursday said he would make an “official merger proposal” to Zaroglu, who had been a founding member of the YDP in 2016.

Zaroglu was even elected to ‘parliament’ as a YDP ‘MP’ alongside Arikli in 2018, but then left the party in 2021, founding Milletin Partisi.

He then appeared on the candidate list of another of the north’s ruling parties, the UBP, in the 2022 ‘parliamentary’ election, but was not elected and returned to the Milletin Partisi in January.

The YDP’s leadership election is set to take place on April 28, having been postponed from its initially planned date of February 17 as a war of words between its two leadership candidates threatened to tear the party apart.